From the President

​He​a​ven's Gain

The spring of 2019 has been one of significant loss for the ministry of Young Life.

On March 31, we lost our second president, Bill Starr, at the age of 93.

On May 16, we lost our fifth president, Denny Rydberg, at the age of 74.

Our earthly loss has been heaven’s gain. Bill and Denny were gifts from God to the mission of Young Life, and are now in the presence of our Lord Jesus. Before Bill’s passing, we had only said goodbye to one of our former presidents — our founder, Jim Rayburn — and that was nearly 50 years ago.

What a gift it was to be with all the living presidents at our board of trustees meeting in the fall of 2017.

I am deeply grateful to the Lord for these two wonderful leaders who served our mission so well. Paul tells us in Romans 13:1,4 that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God … (as) God’s servant(s) for your good” (ESV).

Both Bill and Denny worked with all of their hearts, “as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” They now, with great assurance, have received “an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23–24, NIV).

It is my prayer that every staff person, every leader, every committee member, every friend and servant of God in Young Life, will look at their lives and draw encouragement and inspiration to fight the good fight and keep the faith.

In the past weeks, I have had a strong sense that both Bill and Denny have been able to say to the Father, just like Jesus did while He was among us: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4, ESV).

As I am sure Bill and Denny would have wanted, let’s be full of faith and courage as we seek to “reach and teach” all kinds of young people in communities around the world. What a privilege it is to walk in their large footsteps. What a privilege it is to serve our good and gracious Lord in the mission of Young Life!

I will close with this quote I recently read from Reinhold Niebuhr — theologian and ethicist from the middle of last century — which should cause us all to stay connected to our shared past, and with an eye to our collective future:

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.”

Newt Crenshaw
Young Life President

Our tributes to Bill and Denny ...